Having a cat in class before COVID-19 was unheard of. Now, it’s almost expected to see at least one person’s fuzzy study buddy in a day full of Zoom classes.
Whether it be a professor telling a story of the crazy antics their dog got into the night before or a student’s cat lying down on the keyboard and thus kicking them out of the meeting, the appearance of a pet tends to add a touch of humanity to the online set-up.
Sophomore Sara Meehan is a “cat person,” and her animal family has grown since quarantine began. Her kitten, Sebastian, has proven to be a source of comfort during stressful times.
“I got a rescue cat three weeks ago,” Meehan said. “It's been nice, mental health-wise, to have something positive like this happen, because my family has been taking quarantine really seriously. It's been hard being in house all the time and he's just made it a lot more exciting.”
Sara Garzia, a second-year master’s student in the School of Public Health, has two cats that add to her daily routine, for better or for worse.
“I'd like to say I make time to play with them every day, but I haven't done that quite yet,” Garzia said. “But to give them some attention, I'll do homework on the couch because I know they'd like to come sit or nap on the couch with me.”
Junior Jenny Deview, on the other hand, has found life in quarantine easier when it comes to caring for multiple animals.
“During quarantine I got the chance to figure out fitting in as much time as I can for cleaning,” Deview said. “I have two ferrets, and their cage needs to be cleaned every other day. I have a hedgehog, whose litter box needs to be done every two days or so, and then the three cats are every day.”
Joe Czabovsky, an assistant professor in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media, understands the value of having a pet at home, given the current conditions of the world. His dog, Bert, tends to make an appearance in his classes — be it through a sighting or a bark.